by Jim Boyle
Nancy Schumacher, a long-time DFL political activist, and her more moderate 30-year-old daughter will be among the masses Jan. 21 at Barack Obama’s second presidential inauguration.
The official theme for the 2013 inauguration is “Faith in America’s Future,” commemorating the United States’ perseverance and unity, marking the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the placement of the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol Dome in 1863.
It will be Carol Schumacher’s first inauguration, an opportunity she knows traces back to her grandfather Walt Schumacher, a retired Elk River High School teacher who taught his family about history and the importance of voting, standing up for one’s beliefs and calling one’s congressman or -woman when the need arises.
“He’s a civic-minded person,” Carol says.
So is Nancy.
It will be her second. She attended President Bill Clinton’s second inauguration.
“We’re excited,” Nancy said. “It’s going to be fun. It’s a real privilege.”
An estimated 1.8 million people attended the 2009 presidential inauguration of Barack Obama, a record-breaking number for any event in Washington, D.C..
Schumacher could have been there for Barack Obama’s first inauguration, too, but she gave away the tickets she got as the chairwoman of the DFL’s Sixth Congressional District.
“I felt it was somebody else’s turn,” she said. “That was such a grassroots effort. It was a frantic celebration.”
Things are more subdued now, but no less historic in the eyes of the Schumachers. They see the world around them shedding hatred in favor of acceptance of people’s differences and a renewed chance to work together.
“The Democrats certainly didn’t get a mandate,” she said. “They were given another opportunity. It’s a chance. I hope we realize what we were given — another chance to work together.”
Nancy got her tickets this time around after her election to the Democratic National Convention Committee. She chose to bring her daughter. They will travel on their own dime — with the help of friends.
They will have the unique opportunity to be there with another member of the DNC Committee with the same ZIP code. Wes Gadsen, of Big Lake Township, will also be there.
“It’s rare for two DNC members to come from the same ZIP code,” Nancy said.
It took very little arm twisting to get her daughter Carol to go with her.
“It was really hard to agree to go play tourist and visit museums,” Carol said with a wink and a smile. She’s awestruck, in part by the fact that the event falls on the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. and that she’s heard the Bibles that Obama will place his hand on to take his oath will be from President Abraham Lincoln and King.
Nancy said she wouldn’t miss this one.
“I want to go to the parade,” she said, “Just seeing the country’s wonderful history … and the Vietnam Memorial will be worth it.”
Schumacher expects Vice President Joe Biden and possibly surprise guests at a DNC meeting Jan. 20. She previously met Biden, who despite the wishes of Secret Service agents likes to chat with constituents. When Schumacher introduced herself to him previously, Biden described to her a Schumacher he knew back in Pennsylvania while agents peered on with disdain at the interaction.
The Schumachers plan stops at Sen. Al Franken’s and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s offices while in D.C.
Nancy is excited for her daughter to bring her experiences back to youthful adults in their late 20s and early 30s.
“I’m excited,” Carol said. “I think it’s going to be one of those experiences that I will talk about for years to come. I will be part of our history.”
Walt Schumacher will be proud.
2013 inauguration schedule at a glance
•Saturday, Jan. 19 — National Day of Service. President Obama will ask Americans across the country to organize and participate in service projects in their communities to honor our shared values and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A service fair featuring service projects and special programming will be held on the National Mall from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. See more about Martin Luther King Day events.
•Sunday, Jan. 20 — The president will participate in a small, private swearing-in ceremony.
•Monday, Jan. 21 — Inauguration Day. Swearing-in ceremony, inaugural parade and official inaugural balls.
Following the oath of office, the president will give his inaugural address, setting out his vision for America and goals for the nation. See details about the program.
•Tuesday, Jan. 22 —Inaugural National Prayer Service, 10:30 a.m. Washington National Cathedral. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with dignitaries and Americans of diverse faiths will attend the service, which will include prayer, readings and musical performances.
The event is by invitation only and will be webcast live at www.nationalcathedral.org.